Last week’s Mississippi GOP Senatorial primary was a doozy: the incumbent, challenged by a Tea Party nut for not being right-wing enough, invited black Democrats to protect themselves from said nut by crossing party lines and voting against him the Republican incumbent, which they did, securing the incumbent’s victory.
As we have learned from previous Tea Party candidacies, rightbloggers believe all Republican office-holders must be replaced by frothing maniacs, and nothing infuriates them more than when one of their champions falls to the Establishment. But in this case they were even more enraged than usual — partly because of the involvement of Democrats and black people.
Thad Cochran has been a Mississippi Senator since approximately the founding of the Republic, but like other old-guard Republicans he got a Tea Party challenge, in this case from talk radio host Chris McDaniel.
The rightblogger rip on Cochran was that he spent too much time on constituent services — he’s “one of the Senate’s legendary porkers,” scowled Timothy P. Carney at the Washington Examiner, and “has disproportionate control over Congress’s purse strings” — and not enough time trying to repeal Obamacare, ban abortion, and all the other projects McDaniel promised to pursue in office.
McDaniel had full Tea Party backing, and if some of his associates were a little overzealous — breaking into a nursing home to take pictures of Cochran’s wife, for example — that just showed what devotion the candidate commanded among them. And anyway, who was Cochran to talk? McDanielites attacked him with ads like “Cochran Supported the Release of 5 Terrorists” — referring to the swap that brought home Bowe Bergdahl, the five-year prisoner of war whom rightbloggers think should have been left to die rather than freed by such as Obama.
On June 3 McDaniel beat Cochran but couldn’t get a majority, necessitating a run-off. Both men returned to the hustings, where it appears Cochran’s campaign reached out to black Democrats, suggesting that McDaniel’s attitudes toward them, which were well-known from his radio broadcasts, were so dangerous to them that they might like to exploit a vagary of local election law that allows voter to choose whichever party’s primary they’d prefer to vote in, and nip McDaniel in the bud.
McDaniel snarled that the Cochran campaign “should be ashamed of themselves” and “have abandoned conservatives” — which, to us, sounds slightly hysterical and possibly self-damaging, since it’s obviously aimed at voters he’d already won rather than at fence-sitters whose support would help him in the runoff. But what do we know about politics? Rightbloggers were at least as convinced as they already had been, and many predicted that in Mississippi the Negro Question would be resolved in their favor.
“QUESTIONS MOUNT ABOUT EFFORT TO DRIVE DEMOCRAT VOTES FOR COCHRAN,” screamed the headline on Matt Boyle‘s Breitbart.com report, which also carried a huge picture as well as a video of a black Cochran supporter so even readers who couldn’t read would get the message.
“Cochran Campaign Stoops to a New Low” dudgeoned The Madison Project. “…Their last ditch effort to buy another vacuous term in the Senate now completely revolves around turning out Democrat voters. What’s worse is that the call targets black Democrat voters” — gasp! — ‘”by directly calling the Tea Party racist.”
Now where’d anyone get such an idea? Well, if they didn’t have it to start with, they might have got it Politico reported McDaniel was sending “poll-watchers” to the voting booths to ensure the integrity of the results — which, as the New York Times delicately described it, “evokes memories of the civil rights struggles of the state’s past.”
The McDaniel camp was unembarrassed; the poll watchers were needed “in areas where Mr. Cochran is recruiting Democrats,” reported “J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official and conservative commentator.” Adams does much of his commentating, by the way, for rightblogger outfit PJ Media, where has been using his column to campaign for McDaniel (“Democrat Machine Notaries Working MS GOP Runoff,” etc.).
(Another of McDaniel’s campaign trail buddies is Wayne Allyn Root, another rightblogger who’s into the Go Galt thing and predicted days before the 2012 election that Mitt Romney would win in a landslide. He is also, as he demonstrated on The Daily Show, a dick. When a candidate’s brain trust includes the sort of people we regularly made fun of in this column, you know you’re dealing with the Tea-hee-hee-est of Teabaggers.)
Are you feeling the irony? Imagine how rightbloggers, who react to irony pretty much the way they react to ballet and mosques, felt about it.
“Disgrace Cochran Chicanery Pulls Him to MS Victory” cried US 4 Palin. “Conservatives Urge McDaniel To Run as Write-In Candidate in the Fall,” reported Dan Riehl (come on, we couldn’t possibly be that lucky). “Cochran win draws criticism of open primaries,” dutifully bullshat the Washington Times.
“With Thad Cochran it’s Time to Think Long Term About Destroying the GOP,” raved Warner Todd Huston at Wizbang. When Cochran, whom Huston called “senile,” decided to “throw the race card and scare vulnerable black voters” into supporting him, this proved once and for all that “the Republican Party is merely the ‘outer defenses’ for the Democrat Party” and “Republicans consider traditional Americans an enemy that needs to be vanquished.” Therefore Huston proposed that “every conservative in Miss. vote for Cochran’s Democrat opponent and make sure that Cochran is defeated in his re-election bid.” We hope the Mississippi Democrats have the presence of mind to print this off and distribute it.
A few of the brethren were bold enough to suggest their real enemies were the black voters who had the temerity to vote in their election.
“What’s actually disturbing about Cochran’s reliance on black voters is the nature of his appeal,” said Robert Tracinski of The Federalist, “and what it says about the degeneration of racial politics.”
See, “Cochran appealed to black voters by pointing to the federal pork-barrel spending and welfare benefits he brings to the state,” said Tracinski. These black voters, he argued, consider Cochran a racist, so when they voted for him that proved “racial politics in America is no longer actually about race or racism. It has been co-opted as a bludgeon for supporters of the welfare state.” And guess who’s wielding the bludgeon? (Hint: They’re born criminals!)
“Thad Cochran’s campaign was just cashing in on the fact that the left has managed to racialize free-market politics,” moped Tracinski, “and what’s really disturbing is that we let them do it.” Tracinski didn’t say how “we” would stop blacks from thus voting. We like to assume he understands the South’s previous favorite remedies are a non-starter, but we’re not sure how much further that that his grasp of the obvious extends, because he actually asked about McDaniel, “Why didn’t he have the contacts, the arguments, and the credibility to make his own appeal to black voters?” We are tempted to paraphrase Pat Murphy in Kiss Me Deadly: “I’m going to pronounce a few words. They’re harmless words. Just a bunch of letters scrambled together. But their meaning is very important. Try to understand what they mean: Richard Nixon. Jesse Helms. Lee Atwater…”
Some rightbloggers needed no such instruction. “In Mississippi, Cochran Plays Anti-White Race Card, And Wins,” reported Washington Watcher at the refreshingly overt VDare site. McDaniel “failed to run a truly populist campaign,” said WW: that is, he “failed to tie immigration to the big donors who supported Cochran.” (WW was very concerned about an influx of Mexicans, and assumed the rest of us shared his concern.) Also, “when the GOP Establishment stupidly attacked both [Tom] Tancredo and McDaniel for allegedly ‘racist’ comments, Tancredo always stood his ground. In ignominious contrast, McDaniel ran away from them.”
Once McDaniel had been bolder, sighed WW wistfully: When he was a radio show host, McDaniel “joked about how Americans should all illegally immigrate to Mexico in retaliation for the Mexodus. But McDaniel refused to stand by either comment. He just reiterated how much he abhors ‘racism’ and loves the blacks with whom he plays basketball.” Trimmer! Thus, “McDaniel’s timidity on racial may have been the reason why he could not turn to his own advantage Cochran’s unscrupulous drive to recruit black Democratic voters.” If only he’d told the good white people of Mississippi what he really thought! McDaniel is too childish-foolish for this world.
“The Marionettes Remain Uncut,” howled Erick Erickson of RedState, who accused the “GOP establishment” of “doing all it could to preserve its power at the expense of its principles… The great lesson from Mississippi is that Republican means, more or less, that if elected the party will reward its major donors, who are just different than the Democrats’ major donors.” Next he’s be telling us that politicians lie! Astonishingly, Erickson has according to his CNN biography “managed a number of political campaigns.”
“But it’s not just conservatives who are irked,” claimed Scott McKay at The American Spectator. “On Wednesday, I had a pair of discussions with well-placed staffers working for GOP senators who are considerably more conservative and in touch with their Republican voters than Cochran.” Wow, unnamed high-level sources — this ought to be good! One such source, said McKay, was “effusive in praising [Erick] Erickson’s piece as spot-on.” Erick, you owe Scott one! The anonymity didn’t stop there: “Several senators are more than a little uneasy with [Cochran’s] tactics, which they feel responsible for since they raised money for Cochran,” said McKay. All these nameless people agreed that Cochran sucks. Surprisingly, McKay failed to also report the opinion of a cab driver.
Meanwhile McDaniel, yet to concede and threatening to sue, keeps throwing his “outsider” card though the dealer has left the table: He hilariously tells a still-attentive press that “many conservatives don’t feel welcome in the Republican party,” perhaps hoping to frighten party elders with the prospect of a third-party run.
McDaniel still has supporters — for example, Craig Shirley, “author of two critically praised bestselling books on President Reagan.” After denouncing the Cochran campaign to Yahoo News (“it’s so tainted that it might be one of those things where they’re going to be sorry they ever won the runoff in Mississippi”), Shirley really let it all hang out at Breitbart.com: Under the headline “The Magnolia State Stinks,” Shirley compared “the Cochran forces and the national Republicans” to cockroaches, and said the National Republican Senate Committee “has taken on a Lord of the Flies culture of mean little boy savagery and decadence.” Me-ow!
But even in his rage Shirley could not envision a positive outcome for the McDanielites: “there will probably be no investigation,” he sighed, “and this won’t be the first time Mississippi has swept crime under the rug.” (If you think he was talking about the civil rights era, we admire your optimism, but Shirley was actually about a Mississippi Republican party chairman’s lack of fealty to Ronald Reagan in 1976.)
It appears Cochran will remain the candidate, and though rightbloggers like Jeff Goldstein of protein wisdom claim his victory means “the GOP is over. Done with. Finished. Sleeps with the fishes,” and others hold out hope of invalidating the results, Cochran is pretty well certain to hold his seat in November — unless rightbloggers and the people who read them without laughing decide they’re serious about hating the Establishment GOP and bolt. That would be lovely, but let’s not be too audacious with our hope; just thank them for the laughs and move on.